Even "Better Off Out" Tories are not guaranteed immunity from a UKIP challenge
It has long been a cause of frustration that UKIP happily stands candidates against many eurosceptic Conservatives who wish to see powers returned from Brussels to Westminster - although without backing immediate wholesale withdrawal from the EU.
The well-rehearsed argument goes that by splitting the eurosceptic vote, UKIP has allowed Labour and Lib Dem MPs to squeak back to Parliament with narrow majorities (although I do acknowledge that not all UKIP voters are necessarily Conservative supporters and may not have voted Conservaitve previously or indeed be prepared to countenance doing so).
All the same, I would argue that for anyone who agrees with UKIP's principle aim of getting out of the European Union, their preferred direction of travel will be infinitely better represented by a Conservative Government than by a Labour one, and that voting UKIP is merely aiding and abetting the europhiles in Labour and the Lib Dems.
Some Conservative MPs - and indeed one candidate - have signed up to the Freedom Association's Better Off Out campaign to show their opposition to Britain's continued membership of the EU - and logic would surely dictate that anyone having done so would not expect to have a UKIP opponent come the general election.
But Lord Pearson of Rannoch (pictured), the recently-elected new UKIP leader, has told Total Politics magazine that this is not the case.
Whilst naming certain individual Tories whom he would not want his party to oppose - Philip Davies, Richard Shepherd and Douglas Carswell - he suggests that merely signing up as a BOO supporter is not enough to guarantee immunity because there is the danger that some BOO supporters end up being "wishywashy" once inside Parliament:
"How energetic are these people in the Commons? What questions do they put down? Will they actually fight in the House of Commons for Britain to leave? ...Each constituency is different, each individual is different, each UKIP political party is different and each individual case has to be looked at on its merits."